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Kenyan small enterprises reap big from China import expo

By Ronald Njoroge NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Nancy Wangari Ndirangu has always dreamed of transforming her family-owned agro processing firm into a multinational giant. 

The director of Centrofood Industries has just returned from the China International Import Expo (CIIE) with orders from Chinese clients.

“The Chinese market could be the catalyst that will propel my company into the big league,” Ndirangu told Xinhua on Friday during a reception held by the Chinese embassy in Nairobi.

She said that Chinese consumers were very receptive of her tomato sauce products as she was able to sell all the samples she travelled with to China.

“We have been overwhelmed with inquires and we are now narrowing down to those with the best offers,” she added.

Ndirangu said that she hopes to commence shipping her organic brand of tomato sauce to China, beginning January 2019.

“We hope to begin selling small quantities and grow gradually as we develop our products to meet the specific needs of Chinese customers,” she added.

Centrofood Industries’ current portfolio of products includes chilly and garlic sauce, fruit juices and jams as well as bottled drinking water.

The first CIIE that was held in Shanghai between November 5 and 10.


Nancy Wangari Ndirangu | Coastweek


NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Nancy Wangari Ndirangu, director of Centrofood Industries, delivers a speech concerning her experience of attending the China International Import Expo (CIIE) during a reception held in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 16, 2018. “The Chinese market could be the catalyst that will propel my company into the big league,” Ndirangu told Xinhua here on Friday. XINHUA PHOTO: LYU SHUAI

Kenya, which was represented by President Uhuru Kenyatta, was one of the African countries with a country pavilion.

Austin Mucheso, acting chief manager product, market development and promotion at Export Promotion Council (EPC), said that China is one of the largest importers of goods in the world.

“We are therefore putting all our energy into China to ensure we get our products into the lucrative market,” Mucheso said.

He said that Kenyan products that have potential to be successful in China include coffee, tea, macadamia nuts and other manufactured products.

Irene Mumo, director of Trueways Enterprise, also participated in the CIIE. Mumo said that her organic honey emerged as a favorite for Chinese consumers who are embracing healthy foods.

She added that she secured large orders from Chinese consumers and is currently looking for finance to expand her operations.

Mumo noted that another challenge she will face in exporting to the Asian country is lack of enough quantities.

“I therefore plan to begin aggregating honey from small scale farmers from across the country in order to supply to my clients,” she revealed.

She observed that in order to penetrate the Chinese market, she will package her products in small dosages in order to ensure that they remain fresh.

Fridah Mbaya also reaped rewards from her participation at the CIIE. The director of Nyumbani Coffee Enterprises hopes to introduce Kenya’s renowned coffee to Chinese consumers.

“The only challenge I experienced was the need to upgrade packaging in order to appeal to sophisticated Chinese buyers,” Mbaya said.

The women entrepreneur said that she hopes to benefit from the coffee drinking culture that is taking root in major Chinese cities.



Chinese envoy urges Kenya to create conducive
environment to lure Chinese investments

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Friday called on the Kenyan government and business community to take concrete measures to create a safer and more convenient environment to lure more Chinese investments.

Li Xuhang, Charge’d Affaires at the Chinese embassy in Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi that Beijing is ready to help increase the value and competitiveness of Kenyan products and expand imports from Kenya.

“The future of our bilateral cooperation is very bright,” Li said, calling for efforts to seize the prime opportunity to work harder for more Kenyan products to enter Chinese market, for more Chinese investment to come to Kenya, and most importantly for more tangible benefits to the lives of Kenyans and Chinese.

Li made the remarks during a reception for Kenyan business community who participated in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) that run from Nov. 5 to 10.

The Chinese diplomat said that Kenyan exhibitors had achieved remarkable results during the expo, given that their products including tea, coffee beans, honey, grains, attracted attention of Chinese buyers.

Ababu Namwamba, chief administrative secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, said the CIIE with its focus on imports is an open and cooperative platform for countries and regions to showcase their achievements and development as well as conduct international trade.

Namwamba said that the expo will promote the Belt and Road Initiative, economic globalization, inclusive growth and reciprocal development.

He added that Kenya is fully committed to strengthening bilateral trade with China in order for the citizens of both countries to fully realize benefits of the cooperation.

He stressed that there is great potential to grow the current volume of Kenyan exports given the size of the Chinese market.

Namwamba said that Chinese investments in Kenya are on the rise and currently over 400 companies are operating in the country, employing some 55,000 Kenyans.



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